The Trail

Your adventure Starts nearby.


The North Country Trail (NCT) connects America’s red plaid nation, wandering 4600 miles through America’s rugged northern heartlands. Stretching across seven states, this longest National Scenic Trail is brought to local communities through the dedication and hard work of volunteers. From New York to North Dakota, North Country Trail hikers can find adventure right nearby.
While only a few have attempted to thru-hike the whole trail in one shot, thousands find their way onto a section of the NCT each year. Spring, summer, fall or winter, the trail offers something for everyone. Winter camping and snowshoeing, long-distance trail running, a saunter through quiet spring meadows or vineyards, crossing salmon-filled rivers, a weekend with the grandkids…. you can find what you’re looking for on the North Country Trail, and right nearby! This trail can be rugged and welcoming, remote and festive. You get to choose your own adventure !

In fact, the NCT is within a day’s drive of 40% of America’s population, and folks who live near Fargo, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Detroit, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Albany can be hiking on the Trail within a couple hours.

Some quick facts about the North Country Trail:

  • Longest National Scenic Trail in the United States (4600 miles when complete)
  • Administered by the National Park Service
  • Passes through 12 National Forests
  • Created by Congress in 1980; already has more trail completed than the Appalachian National Scenic Trail is long.
  • In 2010, volunteers contributed almost 70,000 hours toward building and maintaining the Trail and telling its story, a 14% increase over 2009, valued at $1.5million dollars!

Let this Web site be your portal to the great adventure awaiting you. We’ve broken the trail down state-by-state for you, so you can begin to imagine where you might spend spring break, summer vacation or that next long weekend. For the uninitiated, the options can be a little overwhelming, but don’t sweat it (save that for the trail). You’ve got a wealth of resources at your disposal to help you plan your next trip. Look through the site, and if you have any questions, send us an email or give us a call. Don’t worry if you don’t know where to go or what to bring, we’re here to help.

Built by volunteers…

The 1980 Congressional authorization of the North Country National Scenic Trail prompted the founding of the North Country Trail Association in 1981 as the volunteer organization providing the major partnership with the National Park Service in building the trail and telling its story. It is an enormous task—locating the trail, putting in on the ground, keeping it maintained and encouraging the use of it. Decades and many hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours later, that’s exactly what our volunteers are accomplishing, one mile and one step at a time. The North Country Trail stands as an example of what a strong private-public partnership and a dedicated citizen volunteer effort can accomplish, leaving a legacy for generations to come.

Updated – 3/9/2011 – Problems with this page?  Contact: bmatthews@northcountrytrail.org

{ 23 comments }

Jehiah Longoria May 11, 2011 at 3:29 am

Hi, I am a backpacker and live in Hillsdale County, MI. I would be willing to help re-mark the trails with the Blue paint if needed. I have hiked in the lower parts of the county on the trail and know the area pretty well. Thanks

James Wieszciecinski May 17, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Hello,

Would anyone happen to know if the official NCNST trail maps are available locally for Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
Are they for sale in Grand Marais or Munising? Where?
Are they for sale any where other than online?
Are they for sale any where along I-75 between Bay City, Mi and Munising?

Thank you,
Jim

richard travis February 26, 2012 at 11:08 am

are the trails open to horses

Paul Zerbel February 29, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Hello There
My son lives in ohio and I viset couple times a year, while he comes our way also.
I hike the nct in upper and lwr mich quite often,but would like to get a map of
the trail near Lebenon Ohio next to the miami rever , we have biked it and hiked it
just would like to know more. Thank You Paul Zerbel from mich

radavis March 1, 2012 at 9:27 am

Hi Paul. There are a couple links you can check out to learn more about Ohio’s trails. One is our Explore by Section area on this website … http://northcountrytrail.org/trail/states/ohio/explore-by-section/ Another place you may want to check out is our Trail Shop. We have technical maps that cover OH as well as the other states … http://northcountrytrail.org/shop/category.php?category_id=53 Hope these help!

radavis March 1, 2012 at 9:28 am

Hi Richard. Unfortunately, the National Scenic trails are not open to horses. They are designed primarily as premier foot paths for hiking and backpacking.

Vicki Warren April 9, 2012 at 4:37 pm

A friend and I are planning to walk a couple days this summer in Wisconsin. Probably part of the western section in the National forests. Any idea how bad the black flies are in June there? Will the early spring mean more and longer flies or will they be done earlier? Any idea? Where is the loveliest section in the forests? Would the ancient mountains be more interesting? Thanks!

autum May 31, 2012 at 3:12 pm

I would like to no what does it take to adobet a trail.

laura readle June 8, 2012 at 9:39 am

I want to make a reservation at the NCT school house..the hike between White Cloud to Nichols Lake in Michigan. I can’t find out on your website where to make it. Do I need to call??

radavis June 8, 2012 at 10:29 am

Just sent you the Birch Grove School House Brochure via e-mail. Thanks!

radavis June 8, 2012 at 10:31 am

Our trail is managed and maintained by local Chapter. Please check out http://northcountrytrail.org/get-involved/whoswh/ to find contact information for a Chapter near you. Thanks!

Diane Dulin June 29, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Are there sections of the trail which provide lodging at appropriate spots so that one could sleep in a motel or lodge on consecutive nights several days or weeks along the trail (as, for example, along the Camino de Santiago in Spain)? Thank you!

Gary Morgan August 20, 2012 at 8:55 pm

We have a cabin about a mile or less away from where the NCT crosses. We are in Mackinac County Michigan (East Lake Rd., East Lake)…about a 45 minute drive north of the Mackinac Bridge. We will be posting special NCT pricing – less expensive than those that stay for hunting/fishing purposes.

Doug December 29, 2012 at 9:45 pm

I am strongly considering a Thru-hike… can it be done or is the trail still too undeveloped ?

Somebody get back to me when they get a chance… Best, Doug

mdavis February 14, 2013 at 11:19 am

Yes, the NCT can be thru-hiked but it requires a lot of road walking. Some of the recent people to do it include Nimblewill Nomad in 2009 (see http://www.nimblewillnomad.com/odyssey_2009.htm) and Andrew Skurka in 2005 (see http://andrewskurka.com/adventures/sea-to-sea-route/).

Ty Rankin February 24, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Hey Doug,
I am also considering a hike/run from my nearest NCT point in Wisconsin. Email me to find out more, I can be reached at trankin13@nw-tigers.org or TySara1312@yahoo.com Maybe we can hook up if our plans are nearly identical.

Ty Rankin

Arthur Lytle jr November 26, 2013 at 9:23 am

If you wanted to do a thru-hike, dose anyone know about how long it would take and what would be the best time to start? Plus where would be the best place to start. In new york or south dekota?

brandon January 7, 2014 at 8:09 pm

Is camping allowed on the trail in Pennsylvania, or do you have to lodge off trail? Thank you

dawn January 7, 2014 at 8:56 pm

Hello,
I’m planning on walking the NCT thru the U.P. Can anyone give me advice on sending myself “care packages” to different post offices along the way. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks

crystal bennett March 5, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Is there a section of the NCT trail near Clarion or Clear Creek State Park that would take 10 to 12 hours to complete ?

Frank Eggleston April 25, 2014 at 7:49 pm

I’m trying to find maps for the Shindagin Hollow section of the North Country Trail but the link to it here didn’t work. (“page not found”).

jdecator April 28, 2014 at 11:54 am

Hi Frank,

The NCT coincides with the Finger Lakes Trail through this area. You can get maps by contacting the FLTC at FLTinfo@fingerlakestrail.org or by visiting their website: http://www.fltconference.org/trail/

MD Edmonds May 16, 2014 at 12:06 am

Dawn, I’ve done some experimenting with this in Ohio and Pennsylvania… it can be hit or miss. The Post Office’s official “Pick-up for Delivery” only works with Priority and Express Mail. One time, I mailed myself a pair of Nike’s to Clarion, Pennsylvania and they lost it. I, however, took out insurance and promptly got my $80 back. I find that the employees in the post office are creatures of habit and from what I can tell, they’re not use to the program.

But even without Priority, or Express, I still sent myself a book to the Post Office in Zoar and a 78″ memory foam matteress for my camper to the one in Marietta. When I shipped the latter, I called the postmaster, who said that he’d hold it for me. But if I was to infer something from that conversation, it seems like it was more of a courtesy :-( .

To those on the NCTA and other trail agencies, I haven’t done too much research to what I’m about to write, but I think that the direction to go with this is to take out PO Boxes so that hikers can address their packages to themselves there. If I remember correctly, if a package is addressed to a PO Box, then the Post Office is required to hold it, regardless of shipping.

If having multiple unknown hikers using the box can be worked out according to USPS’s contract, I would suggest that these boxes be part of an adoption program (the adopter would pay the annual cost of the box). The box would need to be taken out in the NCTA’s name so that hikers can self address their packages with it in the second line. I would also suggest that an emphasis be placed on areas that are hard to find resupply.

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